The former Los Angeles police officer who fled to Mexico in 2015 after killing a man was convicted of murder Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Henry Solis, a former Marine and probationary officer with the LAPD, was found guilty of second-degree murder after pursuing and then fatally shooting Salome Rodriguez, a truck driver, after the two argued outside a bar in Pomona, California, in March 2015.
The 32-year-old was off-duty during the shooting, and had been with the police department for only nine months. His father later helped him cross the Texas-Mexico border to evade authorities, sparking an international manhunt. He was arrested two months later, according to NBC News, and argued he was acting in self-defense when he killed Rodriguez. He now faces 40 years to life in prison and will be sentenced in March.
“Henry Solis is a good person. He spent years serving the country honorably [and] would have made a terrific peace officer,” his attorney, Bradley Brunon, told the Los Angeles Times after Solis’ conviction. “Unfortunately, this event occurred and derailed his plans.... We felt that the evidence didn’t warrant a murder conviction — perhaps manslaughter on a theory of provocation or imperfect self-defense. [The] jury didn’t agree.”
While prosecutions and convictions of cops that have been caught killing civilians have increased in recent years, it’s still exceedingly rare for a police officer to be found guilty of a crime. There are between 900 and 1,000 police-involved shootings every year. Since 2005, 109 non-federal law enforcement officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter over on-duty killings, and 41 of those officers have been convicted.
Cover: Henry Solis, a former Los Angeles police officer, appears at a Los Angeles Superior courtroom on Friday, June, 2015. Solis returned to California on Thursday after a two-month manhunt. He was arrested in Mexico last week and deported to Texas. The 27-year-old Solis was wanted in the shooting death of 23-year-old Salome Rodriguez following a dispute at a Pomona nightclub in March. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via AP, Pool)